THE Apapa Command of Nigeria Customs Service has re-rded N40,610,70,114.55 as Total Free on Board (FoB) value for the exports it processed last year.
Disclosing this recently, Customs Area Controller of the command, Mohammed Abba-Kura, said agricultural products, such as sesame seeds, cocoa, and processed wood, were part of export commodities processed.
He added that the command is strict in preventing the export of unprocessed wood while fully implementing the government import and export guidelines.
Abba-Kura, who said there was an improvement in port users’ level of compliance, also disclosed that the command recorded successes in the fight against smuggling with the seizure of 112 containers of various cargoes.
He said: “For anti-smuggling in the period under review, we seized 112 containers of various items, but the majority of the consignment we seized were drugs.
“Drugs of various types were also seized. Like 47 of them were drugs that were not registered by National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), so they are not fit for human consumption in Nigeria, but the importers went ahead to import them.
“Definitely, we cannot close our eyes and allow such to enter the country. They violated the law, so we seized them.
“Then, we seized about 16 containers of tramadol, 18 containers of vegetable oil, 18 containers of tomato paste and we had one container of used tyres, which they declared as used spare parts , we had some containers of rice, two containers of new empty bags of 50kg rice. It was printed with various brand names.
“So, you see with that maybe their intention was to use them for different purposes. They may decide to use foreign rice that they smuggled in they can put them in those bags and sell. They can put foreign rice that is expired. They can as well use locally made rice as foreign to deceive Nigerians.
“There is real improvement and if you compare it to last year you will see what we are talking about.”
On trade dispute resolution, Abba-Kura said 95 percent of cases brought up in the command were resolved within. He added that those who took their cases to higher authorities had their issues resolved in favour of the command’s earlier positions
“We resolved more than 95 percent of the disputes here within and those who feel like they don’t believe in our argument have the right to escalate upstairs or to headquarters. Most of those that even went higher are coming back to agree in our own favour,” he said.
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On impact of ongoing partial border closure on port activities, he said there are lots of advantages because some of our neighbours were not following the best practices in international trade. According to him, anything coming from that side to Nigeria is transit cargo.
So, any goods or consignments coming in as transit must meet up with the standard. One, it must be inside a container.
Two, it must have all the necessary things like having a seal and that seal must be the original seal that is on the manifest and on the bill of laden. Three, it should come intact without any interference.
He explained that the unwholesome practice usually employed by some unscrupulous traders was to unload the containers then put the loads into trucks and bring them into Nigeria, especially from Benin Republic.
He said this was against the principles of transit as such, goods must come in its original form.
“My advice is that they should be compliant in their declarations and we are going to carry over most of the policies or strategies that we adopted in 2019.
We’ve laid a very good foundation, so we are going to continue on that. Like the open door policy, we attend to complaints as at when due. We give importers or their representatives their rights according to the rules and regulations.
“If they have complaints we attend to them and in the course of attending to those complaints, we look at our laws, books, notices and circulars and we will present it to them.
We don’t do things by guess work. If you say you have a container of particular item and may be the officers in the field upon their examination discovered that, your classification is not right then, you bring your evidence to defend your argument or position, we will look at it together and we will convince the importer or his representative on why our argument is superior. The tariff is there and the explanatory notes are there,” Abba-Kura said.